Kirk Johnson ’82

Kirk Johnson quote

“It was the culmination of all my childhood dreams to lead a shovel army into the mountains and extract literally thousands of gigantic bones.” Kirk Johnson ’82, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and honorary degree recipient. Read “Out of the Shadow” from Amherst Magazine, which traces Johnson's path from Amherst College's geology department, to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Photo credit: @Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Tracy Jarrett ’11

Quote by Tracy Jarrett ’11

“It is important for me to tell the story that my mother cannot tell for herself.” Tracey Jarrett ’11, of NBC news, on her reporting on HIV and AIDS. Julie Keith Jarrett ’81 died from AIDS in 1994. To imagine the person her mother might have become, Tracy Jarrett ’11 traveled from East Harlem to Cape Town to Chicago.

Michael Harmon ’16

Michael Harmon quote

“We’re not in a history-less vacuum but instead are rooted in a tradition of discussion.”
Michal Harmon ’16. Harmon spearheaded a faculty lecture series on Amherst’s history and defining characteristics inquiry, and progress.

Katharine Sims

Katharine Sims quote

“Environmental protection doesn’t always turn out to be incompatible with development goals...” Katharine Sims, assistant professor of economics. Sims, and colleague Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, were recently awarded esteemed Carnegie Fellowships to further their research.

Sam Rosenblum ’16

Sam Rosenblum quote

“Witnessing a musical, having that experience, is in some ways like being in a liberal arts classroom at its best.” Sam Rosenblum, '16, political science,  Jayson Paul ’16, physics and philosophy, and visiting director A. Scott Parry, sat down with President Biddy Martin to discuss the upcoming musical “Into the Woods.

Chris Bohjalian ’82

Chris Bohjalian ’82

“We are hungry for novels that tell our story, that tell the world what our ancestors endured a century ago.”  Chris Bohjalian ’82, author of such books as The Sandcastle Girls, an award-winning novel about the Armenian Genocide. He is one of six who will receive honorary degrees at Amherst’s Commencement on May 22.

Mary Catherine Bateson

Mary Catherine Bateson

“To me, the starting place is the sense of wonder. And that can take you into science. It can take you into art. Other human beings are amazing and beautiful.” Mary Catherine Bateson: Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Anthropology, 1980-1987. On the Oct. 1, 2015 episode of “On Being,” Krista Tippett interviewed Mary Catherine Bateson (daughter of anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson).

David Suzuki ’58

David Suzuki Quote

“An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.” David Suzuki, ’58: science educator, environmental activist, and host of The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. This is one of the most well-known quotes by Suzuki, who has hosted Canada’s most popular nature program for many decades. For more about Suzuki, see this Amherst magazine profile.

Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith Quote

“Friendship is a wildly underrated medication.” Anna Deavere Smith: playwright and actor; campus speaker: April 13. Amherst will welcome Smith to campus on April 13 for a program titled “Snapshots: Portraits of a World in Transition.” The event is free and open to the public.

Judith Frank

Judy Frank Quote

“I want students to reach for the stuff that they're scared to write, the stuff that has really shaped their lives—and that’s harder than you would think.” Judith Frank: fiction writer; Eliza J. Clark Folger Professor of English. Frank, a two-time novelist, is professor of English, director of studies in the English department and Elizabeth W. Bruss Reader. She has taught the College’s Fiction Writing I course for many semesters.

Aleksandra Burshteyn ’16

Burshteyn Quote

“How do people grapple with memories and experiences of a world, of institutions and cultural values that suddenly no longer exist?” Aleksandra Burshteyn ’16: excerpt from Burshteyn's 2016 Thomas J. Watson Fellows application. Burshteyn is one of two Amherst College seniors who will embark on a global journey to learn their stories, as the College’s 2016 Thomas J. Watson Fellows.

William H. Hastie

William H. Hastie Quote

“Difficulty need not foreshadow despair or defeat.” William Hastie ’25: lawyer, judge, educator, public official and advocate for the civil rights of African Americans. Hastie was the first African-American to serve as Govenor of the United States Virgin Islands, as a Federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, and as a Federal appellate judge. 

850+ Courses

Five College Consortium

Students have access to 850+ courses offered on the Amherst College campus as well as 6,000 more via the Five College Consortium. Learn more about the Five College Consortium. All of the Five College campuses are connected via a free bus service, so students are never more than a half hour from arriving at another campus to take a class, join an intramural club or socialize.

Jonatha Brooke ’85

Jonatha Brooke

“From the first minute, it was clear that survival was in finding a creative way through it.” 
Singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke ’85  referring to her mother’s dementia. Brooke put her career on hold to care for her mother, who had dementia. Then she wrote a musical about it, My Mother Has Four Noses. It ran off-Broadway to critical acclaim.

Catherine Epstein

Catherine Epstein quote

“Students need arguments that they can then amplify or argue against.” Catherine Epstein, Professor of History and Dean of the Faculty on her textbook about Nazi  Germany. Epstein structured her 2014 textbook, Nazi Germany: Confronting the Myths, by setting up and then debunking various myths.

Diverse. Visionary. Thought-provoking. Curious. Entertaining. Inspirational. The voices of Amherst come from the past and the present. Read, enjoy and continue the conversation by sharing these quotes by email, Facebook or Twitter.